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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Many cities are experimenting with innovative transportation ideas like scooters or autonomous shuttles, but their efforts are often too isolated or too small to deliver meaningful results, according to transportation experts.

Why it matters: Moving people and goods more efficiently is an urgent priority for many cities, which are grappling with issues like congestion, air pollution and accessibility while trying to raise money for necessary upgrades.

The big picture: About 4 billion people live in urban areas today, and by 2050, cities will be home to two-thirds of the world’s population.

What's needed: To adapt quickly to these changing demographics, cities should adopt a bird's-eye view of their mobility landscape — treating it as a system of systems — rather than continuing to experiment with small-scale pilots, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum and Deloitte.

  • With that approach, per the report, city leaders can adjust schedules, stops, vehicle types and routing to benefit citizens, while optimizing efficiency for the city as a whole.
  • By pulling back the lens, cities can also tap into the needs of neighboring municipalities, as well as area businesses, nonprofits and other institutions to orchestrate more public and private funding sources.
  • WEF calls it a seamless integrated mobility system, but admits implementing it will be hard.

Urban transportation, like politics, is local. What works in one city doesn't necessarily work in another.

  • But WEF studied 10 global cities and identified some common themes to help planners fast-track large-scale mobility systems.
  • The report isn't a prescription, but more like "a recipe book" that cities can consult to come up with their own smorgasbord of solutions, says Michelle Avary, WEF's head of automotive and autonomous mobility.
  • "Every city has to sit down and prioritize what is important to them. 80% might be similar, but that 20% matters a lot for each city. "

Some examples:

  • Singapore put a limit on the number of cars allowed on the road and made it prohibitively expensive to buy a new one. The result: 80% of residents use public transit.
  • Los Angeles created a new data-sharing format to collect and share information with mobility service companies, though it faces pressure to protect personal privacy.
  • London was among the first cities to launch digital ticketing and contactless payment systems, making free data available to app developers who in turn created transportation-related tools used by 40% of the population.

Yes, but: Most innovations in transportation are based on technology to improve an individual's journey, rather than offer a systemic solution.

  • One exception is Remix, a startup that is developing a software platform to help cities understand and plan their transportation networks.
  • It started in San Francisco and now works with more than 325 cities and transit agencies worldwide.

Where it stands: As the case studies show, pioneering cities are beginning to think more strategically, says Scott Corwin, leader of the global future of mobility practice at Deloitte.

  • "We're not just doing pilots for the sake of pilots anymore. We're way past that. I think the next wave of this is we’re looking for things that can scale."

What to watch: The mayor of Paris wants to create a "15-minute city" — a collection of mostly car-free neighborhoods where residents can get to work, home or anywhere else within 15 minutes.

Go deeper: Companies get innovative to fill in urban transportation gaps

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."